Lactophrys trigonus

Lactophrys trigonus, commonly called the buffalo trunkfish or trunkfish, is a boxfish native to the Western Atlantic.

Lactophrys trigonus
Scientific classification
L. trigonus
Binomial name
Lactophrys trigonus
  • Ostracion expansum Cope, 1871
  • Ostracion trigonus Linnaeus, 1758
  • Ostracion undulatus Poey, 1868


The trunkfish has small diffuse white spots. Two areas, located on the pectoral region and halfway between gills and posterior end of carapace, contain dark-edged hexagonal plates that together form chain-like markings.[2] It can reach a length of 30–50 cm and weigh up to 3.3 kg.[3]

Distribution and habitat

The species is native to the Western Atlantic from Canada to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. Records from the Mediterranean still lack verification. It inhabits areas with coral rubble, seagrass beds and offshore reefs, preferring depths above 50 m (160 ft).[1]


Boxfish are benthic feeders and will forage on seagrasses, crustaceans, mollusks, worms, tunicates and a variety of small benthic invertebrates. They are a popular food throughout the Caribbean, and a minor species in the aquarium trade.[1]


  1. Leis, J.L., Matsuura, K., Shao, K.-T., Hardy, G., Zapfe, G., Liu, M., Jing, L., Robertson, R. & Tyler, J. (2015). "Lactophrys trigonus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T193816A2281840. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T193816A2281840.en.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. Robins, C.R. and G.C. Ray (1986). A field guide to Atlantic coast fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 354.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). "Lactophrugus trigonus" in FishBase. 5 2016 version.

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